The future to which blockchains belong is coming fast for supply chains

Michael J. Casey, senior advisor for blockchain research at MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative, just wrote a thought-provoking article on how blockchains will turn supply chains into demand chains.

He argues that the value of blockchain technology offers to supply chains will come once other technologies bring major disruption to global manufacturing and delivery networks. He also says that failure to properly strategize and to consider the widest range of design possibilities could eventually prove fatal for many firms.

Describing supply chains as the “plumbing of the global economy,” Casey says that a combination of new technologies (artificial intelligence, big data, machine learning, the internet of things, mobile money, digital identity and 3D printing, among others) is poised to seriously disrupt the underlying processes of supply chains.

These technologies make manufacturing more responsive and customizable to customer’s orders – in effect, turning supply chains into demand chains. He asserts that this dynamism will only be realized if supply chains also adopt the kind of decentralized trust mediation model promised by blockchains.

As reported in the 2017 MHI Annual Report, the supply chains of the future will be much more dynamic, flexible and customer-responsive than those of the present. Geography and longstanding relationships will be less of issue. Casey suggests that supply chain managers should not only be looking at blockchains but also striving for the most open, permissionless model they can handle.

If you are trying to get your arms around blockchain technology and what it can mean for your supply chain, it’s a fascinating read.

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